Medical consequences from texting

Posted by Sarah Harlan

(NBC) – Teenagers love to text. In fact, many send thousands every month, but all that thumb action does have consequences, and now doctors are warning teens to cut back.

“Well, Bailey, what you have is texting teen tendonitis,” Sadler said. That’s right, Bailey has TTT.

Thirteen-year-old Bailey Baker’s thumbs are in constant motion, sending text messages to her friends again, and again, and again.

Last month may have been her best month ever, texting 8,000 times.

Now, she said she’s feeling the pain.

“Just mainly back and neck problems and thumb numbness and it hurts,” Bailey said.

Dr. Jane Sadler is seeing more and more teens who simply text until it hurts. She said parents, including Bailey’s mom, have no idea how much their kids are texting.

“I was thinking she was texting about 25 texts a day,” Bailey’s mother Lisa Baker said. “Wrong. We’ve uncovered a problem.”

It doesn’t take Dr. Sadler long to isolate the problem.

She gave Bailey the once over and learned she’s texting about 200 times a day.

“Well, Bailey, what you have is texting teen tendonitis,” Sadler said.

That’s right, Bailey has TTT.

“A lot of them report pain in their thumbs, in their elbows, in their back and neck,” Sadler said. “When you look into it and investigate a little bit further, we see commonly the culprit is texting.”

Dr. Sadler said back soreness is caused by poor posture while texting.

Bailey often texts for up to two hours a day; that’s a lot of wear and tear on the thumbs, which over time, can break down.

“What I tell them is ‘hey, you might be normal now, but when you are 40 or 50, you can get arthritis,'” Sadler said.

Dr. Sadler expects a boom in thumb joint replacement surgeries over the next several decades.

Dr. Sadler prescribed exercises to strengthen Bailey’s hands.

School may be out, but Bailey said she learned a lesson about the downside of all that texting.

“Because I didn’t think that texting could make your hands feel so bad,” Bailey said.

Dr. Sadler recommends limiting texting to 50 a day.

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